Introduction to Harriett M. Lothrop (Margaret Sidney), Author
Before Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop founded the National Society Children of the American Revolution in 1895 while regent of the Old Concord Chapter of the Massachusetts DAR, she was a noted writer of articles and books for children under the pen name Margaret Sidney. She was a New Englander through and through, having been born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1844 and living most of her life in the region. As a child, she took little trips into the country with her family. On one such venture, she saw a little brown house which inspired her imagination. She began making up stories about that little house and the poor family of a mother and five children who lived there. Years later, as an adult, her imaginative stories came alive on paper when she wrote "Polly Pepper's Chicken Pie." She submitted it to Wide Awake, a children's magazine published by Daniel Lothrop and Company of Boston. She wrote thirteen more stories for the magazine because people expressed their enthusiasm and desire for more. The publisher himself was impressed and asked to meet with her. Her stories suited his purpose of "books which make for true, steadfast growth in right living." He encouraged Harriett to put her stories into book form, and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew was published in 1881. That same year Harriett married Daniel Lothrop. They moved into The Wayside, a house built c. 1700 which had been home to a Minuteman. Some years later, Louisa May Alcott and her family lived there before it belonged to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Lothrops also acquired Orchard House, next door to The Wayside, where Louisa May Alcott also lived and wrote Little Women. Harriett continued to write short stories and some forty books. When her husband died in 1892, Harriett ran the publishing company before eventually selling it to Lee and Shepard. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard continue to publish children's books today.
Senior National President (2004-2006) Karen Smith, National President (2005-2006) Rebecca Grawl and Maine State President (2005-2006) Samantha Duranko present a wreath at Harriet Lothrop's grave.
Harriett and Daniel had one child, daughter Margaret born in 1884, who was C.A.R. member #1. Margaret graduated from Smith College in 1905, earned a Masters Degree from Stanford and taught there for many years. Harriett Lothrop died in California in 1924 while staying with Margaret in San Francisco. She is buried among other well-known authors in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Margaret moved back to Concord and The Wayside where she continued the preservation efforts of her parents. Her book, The Wayside: Home of Authors, was published in 1940. She opened the house for tours and lived there until her death in 1970. It is now part of Minute Man National Historical Park where you may visit it today.
Information for this introduction was gathered from the following:
Centennial Plus One by Eleanor Smallwood Niebell, 1997; www.recess.ufl.edu article by Rita Smith, 2005; Harriett M. Lothrop, biographies of American authors from www.answers.com; Concord Magazine, July/August 2001 article by Jane Sciacca "The Wayside and Miss Margaret Lothrop;" Old Concord Chapter DAR Web site.